Yuan Shao is a nobleman and supporter of the Han Dynasty who raised a large, powerful army in response to the Yellow Turban Rebellion. He strives to protect his family honor in the land's wars. He is the father of Yuan Tan, Yuan Xi, and Yuan Shang. His younger half-brother is Yuan Shu.
In the Dynasty Warriors series, he is 37 years old and his height is 178 cm (5'10").
While Serving Yuan Shao you will gain
Peace + 10
Attack + 7
Yuan Shao is portrayed as an honourable and proud general, reluctant to take the role of the alliance's supreme commander during the war against Dong Zhuo. As the series progresses, Yuan Shao's pride and haughty traits have been vastly exaggerated to the point of absolute arrogance and pretentiousness. Becoming the series' comic relief character, he speaks with a flamboyant and high-and-mighty attitude, which is toned down considerably in his English appearances. He is known to make passionate and inspirational speeches about justice and valor, gaining the love of the people for his impeccable image. Somewhat incompetent compared to other lords and unwilling to take others' advice, however, he is depicted as a man who doesn't completely fit the heroic image he claims to be.
Yuan Shao is a childhood friend of Cao Cao, but their relationship is strained at best. Yuan Shao in particular deems his friend to be of inferior rank and considers his friend to be a rude upstart. Cao Cao in turn criticizes him as a man who relies too much on his family past and is too inept to survive in the land's wars. Even so, Yuan Shao does express regret when they face one another at Guan Du.
The original names for his third and fourth weapons are references to his relationship with Cao Cao. If his childhood friend is his rival for supremacy, it's fitting for Yuan Shao to dedicate the names of his swords for his own path of military conquest (覇道, hadou).
In contrast to his third and fourth weapons, Yuan Shao's Standard weapon in Dynasty Warriors 6 is named after the method of rule that relies solely on nobility and status (王道, oudou). As opposed to trying to wrestle the right of the land away from his rivals, this path implies that he need only state his family's name to be accepted as royalty. Since he doesn't require the use of brute force, it is, in theory, a serene way of gaining control of a country.
His Skill weapon is originally named after Xuantian, one of the nine heavens. Within this area of the sky, a god named Emperor Xuantian is said to rule. During King Zhou's reign, the Jade Emperor ordered him to suppress to an army of demons. Donning black robes and leaving his hair as it was, he wore a helmet that covered him from injury from head to toe. With other heavenly soldiers, he imprisoned his foes with sublime courage. As a reward, he was given his emperor rank. Named a courageous and skilled man of war, Emperor Xuantian has been said to be a water or star god of the north who grants his divine protection at Wudang Mountains. Since he acts as Nezha's superior, some people think that he maybe an alternate form of Bishamonten. According to legend, his mighty footsteps walked across the land and Xuanwu was born from them; or Emperor Xuantian is alternatively the personified version of the tortoise god and is actually named Emperor Xuanwu. He maybe another form of Yuanshi Tianzun in Taoism. During the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Xuantian was also heralded as the god who protects treasure vaults from robbers.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Dealing with the Eunuchs
"Give me five thousand crack troops and I will march into the palace, enthrone the rightful emperor, destroy the eunuchs, and purge the court, thus restoring peace in the land."
―Yuan Shao, enthusiastically offering his services to He Jin.
In chapter 2, Yuan Shao first appears volunteering himself to help He Jin in eradicating the court-corrupting Ten Regular Attendants. His offer was accepted and together with five thousand troops and officials including Xun You, Yuan Shao helped in installing Liu Bian as emperor in the late Emperor Ling's stead. Liu Bian was named Emperor Shao, and Yuan Shao began searching for the eunuch Jian Shuo, who fled hid himself but was killed by another one of the Ten Regular Attendants, Guo Sheng. The palace guard, which Jian Shuo had once commanded, surrendered. Yuan Shao then recommended that the rest of the Ten Regular Attendants should be killed to He Jin.
The rest of the corrupt eunuchs, however, eventually won over the empress' support and He Jin, who was the empress' brother, was convinced not to eradicate the eunuchs. Yuan Shao recommended otherwise but was rejected.
Later, Yuan Shao once again recommended slaying the eunuchs. He Jin was ordered before his sister, Empress He, and she demanded that the eunuchs should be let to live. He Jin went back to Yuan Shao, who after finding out what had happened, suggested calling out to the other militant forces of the Han to come to the court and help in carrying out the duty.
The plot to kill the eunuchs was eventually leaked in chapter 3 and He Jin had been called to the empress. Yuan Shao, along with Chen Lin and Cao Cao, gave warning to He Jin, noting that the call could be a plot from the Ten Regular Attendants. He Jin ignored the heed, so Yuan Shao and Cao Cao had five hundred each of their finest put under Yuan Shao's half-brother Yuan Shu, and they all accompanied He Jin on the way to the empress, with Cao Cao and Yuan Shao escorting him personally. They stood down when the bureau noted that only He Jin was asked to come, thus he would be the only one to come inside. He Jin walked on, and was assassinated.
Having been waiting for a long time, Yuan Shao and Cao Cao called for He Jin from outside. He Jin's decapitated head was flung over the nearby wall, and Yuan Shao led a raid into the palace to slay every eunuch, whether they be corrupt or not.
Defying Dong Zhuo
"The empire is in my hands! If I choose to do as I please, who will dare to say nay? Think you my sword lacks an edge?"
"If your sword is sharp, mine is never blunt!"
―Dong Zhuo and Yuan Shao, after the latter questioned Dong Zhuo's decision.
During the eradication of the Ten Regular Attendants, Emperor Shao and his brother, Liu Xie, were been taken away to a far away farm. Yuan Shao was part of a convoy which included the likes of Wang Yun and Chunyu Qiong, and the convoy eventually met up with the royal pair. The convoy was on its way to reaching the capital, Luoyang, when they encountered a large body of soldiers, and Yuan Shao rode out to the leader and asked who he was.
The leader of the van was Dong Zhuo, and so Dong Zhuo prostrated himself to the emperor, who was too afraid to speak and instead Liu Xie spoke for him. Dong Zhuo had come to the city at the request for outer forces that was made in chapter 2.
Dong Zhuo's army camped outside Luoyang and every day he came inside the city, causing fear into people's hearts with his circle of accompanying soldiers. Someone recommended to Yuan Shao that Dong Zhuo be killed, but Yuan Shao said that nothing could be done until the government settled down.
Later, Dong Zhuo held a banquet to which every minister attended. Right at the beginning of the ceremony, he stood up and said that he would replace Emperor Shao with his younger brother, Liu Xie, and install the boy as the new emperor. Dong Zhuo threatened anyone who questioned the actions with death. Yuan Shao stood up and protested, saying that Emperor Shao had committed no fault, and therefore replacing him would be treason. Dong Zhuo threatened Yuan Shao with his sword, as did Yuan Shao himself.
Li Ru, Dong Zhuo's advisor, calmed him down. Yuan Shao with his sword still unsheathed left the assembly and hung up his seals and cords of office, relinquishing his position in the court.
After the banquet and in chapter 4, two officials came to Dong Zhuo and recommended for him to pardon Yuan Shao, whose noted clan was spread all throughout the court. Yuan Shao was also said to be indecisive during the talks. Dong Zhuo then appointed Yuan Shao as governor of Bohai.
Dong Zhuo went through with deposing Emperor Shao and instating Liu Xie as the new emperor, and had Li Ru murder the former emperor and his mother and wife. Dong Zhuo also murdered an official who opposed him, which led Yuan Shao to send a letter to Wang Yun asking him to find an opportunity to kill Dong Zhuo.
The Coalition against Dong Zhuo
In chapter 5, Yuan Shao responded to Cao Cao's call-to-arms, along with another sixteen lords, including Gongsun Zan, Tao Qian, and Sun Jian, for a coalition against Dong Zhuo.
During a war council being held, Cao Cao recommended that Yuan Shao be installed as leader of the coalition on the basis of his expansive and influential lineage. Yuan Shao modestly declined some few times, but the consensus of the lords agreed that he should be leader and therefore Yuan Shao was the leader of the alliance.
After an emotional ceremony accepting the honor, Yuan Shao asked for a man who was willing to provoke a battle at Si Pass with Yuan Shu working the supplies, to which Sun Jian volunteered for.
Yuan Shao later received a letter detailing Sun Jian's defeat at the hands of the enemy's commander, Hua Xiong, as well as the death of Zu Mao. Calling yet another council meeting, he saw three men standing behind Gongsun Zan, and upon learning that one of them was Liu Bei, a descendant of the imperial Han line, bade him to sit down. Yuan Shao openly stated that he respected Liu Bei not for his merit in helping with the Yellow Turbans, but for his relations to the Liu clan. Word came mid-meeting that Hua Xiong was riding along the Si Pass flaunting Sun Jian's turban, so two lords of the coalition volunteered their respective prized generals to fight him, and both generals were slain. Yuan Shao cried that Yan Liang and Wen Chou, his own renowned fighters, would be able to defeat Hua Xiong. The battle was eventually won with Guan Yu's slaying of the enemy commander.
Li Ru explained to Dong Zhuo that Yuan Wei, Yuan Shao's uncle and the Imperial Guardian, was within the court, and that he could stage a coup from inside the capital with cooperation with the outer forces of Yuan Shao. As such, Dong Zhuo had two of his generals, Li Jue and Guo Si, surround Yuan Wei's residence along with five hundred soldiers and slaughter the household.
From there, while Li Jue and Guo Si occupied Sishui Pass with fifty thousand, Dong Zhuo occupied Tiger Trap Pass with one hundred and fifty thousand men. As a response, eight of the coalition warlords marched on Tiger Trap Pass at the suggestion of Cao Cao, and there the three oath brothers were able to repel Lu Bu, an enemy commander, away.
In chapter 6, upon hearing news of the victory, Yuan Shao sent Sun Jian to advance. Later, Dong Zhuo was forced to flee the capital and on the way he plundered and burned it to the ground. Cao Cao recommended pursuing Dong Zhuo's army, but Yuan Shao refused, detailing their own force tired and in need of rest.
Not wanting to deal with Yuan Shao's refusal, Cao Cao rushed to pursue Dong Zhuo and was gravely defeated, then returning to Luoyang. Yuan Shao had also gotten into an argument with Sun Jian, whom was correctly suspected to have the Imperial Seal and left. Yuan Shao had received the information from an informant. At a banquet designed to console Cao Cao for his loss, Cao Cao revealed that he had a plan for the coalition to achieve victory over Dong Zhuo, but with the mistrust of him from the other leaders and Yuan Shao's indecisiveness it could not be completed. And so with Gongsun Zan who also realized Yuan Shao's fault, Cao Cao marched back to his province. The alliance fell apart, and Yuan Shao too eventually broke away.
Liu Biao warred with Sun Jian on word that he had acquired the Imperial Seal given in a letter by Yuan Shao, and the result was that Sun Jian was killed-in-action.
Yuan Shao himself convinced Han Fu to give over his lands to Shao's "protection" from outside influences, gaining Shao a fertile land to feed his troops. With backdoor dealings with Gongsun Zan, he convinced Liu Yu to surrender to him, thus giving him the upper hand in his subsequent war with Gongsun Zan. After conquering Gongsun Zan, the north was secure, Yuan Shao looked south to the lands of Cao Cao and engaged him in Guandu, where he was defeated. Shortly thereafter, Yuan Shao died and his lands torn apart by his warring son's civil war